After a couple of exciting wins against the Oregon schools, the ASU women’s basketball team has a quick turnaround for its next game.
The No. 11 Sun Devils will open a two-game set against UA on Tuesday night at Wells Fargo Arena and then will travel to Tucson for a Sunday afternoon game.
The Wildcats (4-17, 0-10 Pac-12) have struggled mightily so far this season and have not won a game since Dec. 29. UA’s four wins this year have all come against teams with losing records, with Texas Tech having the best record at 6-15.
Redshirt junior guard Candice Warthen leads Arizona with 12 points per game and plays the most minutes per game with 32.6. Senior wing Kama Griffitts averages 10.1 points and four rebounds per game.
Even though the Wildcats’ record is not great, coach Charli Turner Thorne knows the talent her team will go against.
“I have a ton of respect for U of A,” Turner Thorne said. “They’re playing with everyone, and they’re playing hard.”
Turner Thorne knows that in rivalry games such as these, past performance can be ignored.
“We all know with these games that records can just go out the window,” Turner Thorne said. “This time of year, everybody beats everybody.”
The quick turnaround between games could affect the Sun Devils, so Turner Thorne is doing her best to keep the team from lulling.
“I just pleaded with them to go get yourselves energized,” Turner Thorne said. “We need to fuel up the tank and get energized, because we want to play fast and play hard.”
The veteran presence in the ASU locker room has had a positive influence on the younger players.
“The older players are already talking to the younger players in the locker room,” Turner Thorne said following Sunday’s game. “I was already talking to them and then (redshirt senior guard) Deja (Mann) started chiming in. I think it gets passed on.”
The school tradition has permeated from the older players down and the in-state players to the out-of-staters as well.
“I always feel as though the Arizona kids get it maybe a little bit more, but maybe not really,” Turner Thorne said. “I know the younger players, maybe through being on campus, feel it.”
The results of these games are brought up to the team more than the results of any other game on the schedule.
“Sun Devil Nation cares more about this game than they do any other game,” Turner Thorne said. “We talk about that, because it’s true. I’ll get more comments on this game than any other game, so it’s big. We know it, and we’re excited.”
Turner Thorne doesn’t think her players need anything extra to get them going for the big week coming up.
“It’s a rival game,” Turner Thorne said. “No motivation necessary.”
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